You’ve Probably Heard the Buzzword, So Let’s See if Your Outreach Qualifies.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? All you have to do is make sure all your marketing and communication efforts are in sync, consistent and working together in harmony.
Well, if it was that easy, I wouldn’t be writing about it would I?
Integrated marketing is making sure the consistency and harmony runs across all channels, including digital (web, social media, intranet), customer service, employee communications, newsletters, bill inserts, infographics, snackable content, and any communications coming from your utility.
When integrated marketing occurs, success happens, whether recruiting customers to participate in a new program, changing behavior or just engage in reading tips and information you provide. Integrated marketing can be discussed in terms of marketing as a whole and how it relates to the marketing Mix (4 Ps) and other concepts. You can dig into Integrated Marketing a bit more if you want, but for the purpose of this discussion, let’s talk how this can be done within a utility.
From our experience, utilities often have limited budgets or time, or interest in doing more than the minimum when it comes to outreach. As mentioned there are many reasons for this, but making slight adjustments or additions can really make a difference in your outreach. Here are some ideas:
1. Determine your Objective: Have a clear objective with your outreach. What is the goal? To create behavior change? To increase trust with customers? To inform? To educate?
a. Without a clear objective or goal, you cannot determine if there’s success or have much focus in developing and creating your outreach.
2. Define your Target Market: Determining who you are trying to reach is critical because depending on your target market, your look, feel and messaging can vary. Is it new customers versus longtime customers? Age can be a factor too in regards to where you place your messaging. (social media vs newspaper etc)
3. Create a Plan: With your objective in mind, how can you reach it? Develop a plan before creating your outreach. By following steps 1-3 you will be able to have a more focused plan. Make sure this plan includes Integrated Marketing practices.
4. Execute your Plan: if your target audience so families and you want to promote your new kids outreach materials, social media, bill inserts, newsletter and the website would be offer a strong integrated approach to encouraging families to grab their activity booklet.
5. Measure Your Results: Your plan should have the plan included on how to measure results. How many kids activity booklets were distributed could be 1 way to measure.
With each of these steps, an integrated approach needs to be considered. If you are creating a bill insert on FOG, water conservation or keeping storm drains clean, it’s easy to create a secondary infographic or snackable piece for social media. That same piece can then be placed on your website and in your newsletter to offer a fully integrated approach to the topic.
Consumers, including your customers are bombarded with messaging all day long, so one reason an integrated approach is effective is because it provides a variety of places for your target market to see your messaging. The integrated approach, because it’s consistent, also triggers a memory with your customers because even if they may not have read every word of the message, they will recognize it and eventually read and remember what you are trying to communicate.